Good Monday morning. It’s the final Monday in June 2017, and here’s a look at what’s coming up this week in debuts of reality TV shows, televised documentaries, and unscripted entertainment.
Big Brother + big-ish Network Stars
The last major broadcast summer reality show to debut starts this week, and it’s the one that can generate 24/7 news or boredom: Big Brother. The cast is already inside the soundstage house (here’s my tour from inside the house, from several years ago), and the actual show debuts Wednesday at 8, starting its three-night-per-week schedule (CBS, June 28, Wednesdays at 8, Thursdays at 9, Sundays at 8) and 24/7-ish live feeds. After Dark also returns on Pop.
Also back this week, though after a considerably longer break: Battle of the Network Stars, the 1970s and 1980s competition (ABC, Thursdays at 9). It’s celebrities competing in simple athletic competitions, such as a swim relay or soccer.
The full list of 100 network stars includes 20 people who appeared on the 1970s and 1980s version. All of them will be in teams based on their characters, not their networks, which is a great way to adapt the show to this era of dozens and dozens of networks.
30 for 30 becomes a podcast
ESPN’s 30 for 30 documentary series has produced a lot of incredible television, including the Oscar-winning O.J.: Made in America. And now it’s producing a podcast.
The first of five episodes will be released Tuesday, June 27.
Here are ESPN’s descriptions for those episodes:
The Trials of Dan and Dave
Whether or not you cared about the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, everywhere you turned Reebok was asking you to care about two obscure U.S. track and field decathletes: Dan and Dave. Reebok spent $25 million dollars on Dan vs. Dave as their major Olympic advertising bet. Turns out, Dan O’Brien didn’t qualify for the games, and many remember the campaign as a bust. “The Trials of Dan and Dave” revisit the hype and learn how O’Brien eventually found redemption.
This is the story of how a chant and a shirt came to dominate one of baseball’s biggest rivalries, thanks to a group of hardcore punks from Boston. In the early 2000s, a group of kids infiltrated Fenway Park with one of the most popular bootleg t-shirts in sports history — a shirt that became the emblem of the moment the Red Sox and Yankees rivalry was turned on its head.
On the Ice
“On the Ice” explores how 20 ordinary women with no expedition experience whatsoever, did something many thought was impossible. It started with a classified ad in a newspaper, an open call for women to trek to the North Pole, and ended with a profoundly life-changing experience. On the ice, they came face to face with just how deadly the Arctic can be, along with the supreme beauty of the top of our planet.
A Queen of Sorts
In 2012, poker star Phil Ivey pulled off an elaborate baccarat scheme that won him over $20 million from casinos worldwide. The huge wins got international attention when one casino refused to cash out his chips, and another sued to get its money back. Ivey had cheated, the casinos said, by figuring out a way to know what the value of the cards were in advance. But while Ivey has always been the face of the case, he couldn’t have done it at all without the help of a secretive mastermind named “Kelly” Cheung Yin Sun, who crafted this whole scheme to get revenge.
The Fighter Inside
How does a professional boxer, convicted of armed robbery in 1975, end up boxing on live national television in matches called by Marv Albert — from inside a state penitentiary? This is the unlikely and mostly forgotten story of an inmate who had a dream, and the visionary prison warden who turned it into reality.
What else is debuting this week
Here’s the rest of the reality TV shows debuting this week:
- Street Outlaws: New Orleans (Discovery, June 26, Mondays at 9). “[A] fledgling group of street racing bandits in The Big Easy as they try to prove to the entire world that they are America’s best.”
- I Am Jazz (TLC, Tuesday, June 28 at 10, and then Wednesdays at 9). A transgender teen “balances school, sports, family, and more.”
- Jay Leno’s Garage (CNBC, June 28, Wednesdays at 9). Jay Leno “explores our obsession with all things automotive.”
- Huang’s World (Viceland, June 28, Wednesdays at 10). Eddie Huang “takes a look at the nature of identity and multiculturalism through the shared and universal experience of food.”
- Hair Goddess (TLC, June 28, Wednesdays at 10). A stylist “opens her first salon in Manhattan.”
- WAGS Miami (E!, June 29, Thursdays at 9). Follows the lives of “Wives and Girlfriends of Sports Stars” who live in Miami.
- Gay for Play Game Show Starring RuPaul (Logo, June 29, Thursdays at 9). RuPaul’s Drag Race contestants, reality stars, and celebrities help “pop culture savvy contestants [who are] competing to win over $5,000 in cash prizes.”
- Masters of Illusion (CW, June 30, Fridays at 8). Magicians perform.
- The Incredible Dr. Pol (NatGeo WILD, July 1, Saturdays at 9). A vet and his staff help animals.
- America in Color (Smithsonian Channel, Jul 2, Sundays at 8). This series colorizes images from American history and “presents many of these iconic moments in U.S. history as never before seen.”
POV turns 30 with a story of a mother and daughter in L.A.
The PBS series POV, which airs documentaries and says it “is television’s longest-running showcase for independent non-fiction films,” starts its 30th season tonight.
The first film follows a mother and daughter who live in Los Angeles, and who happen to be Syrian refugees. Dalya’s Other Country (PBS, Monday, June 26, at 9) will be followed by two short films: From Damascus to Chicago, in which “two Syrian siblings recently resettled in Chicago enroll in a dance class, and their entire family makes efforts to navigate a new city and country,” and 4.1 Miles, the Oscar-nominated short that “spotlights a small Greek town on the sea and the coast guard’s daily efforts at saving thousands of migrants crossing the Mediterranean,” according to PBS.
The refugees created by war in Syria, and the war itself, will be the focus of POV’s features on July 3 (The War Show) and July 10 (Last Men in Aleppo).